Saturday, December 19, 2015

Merry Christmas from Santa Ana!

It's almost Christmas and Savannah has been out over 6 months now!  It's been an amazing experience for her and we love to hear from her every week about the challenges, rewards, tears and joys!

After five months in Costa Mesa with the same companion, Savannah has transferred to Santa Ana with a new companion, Hermana Whitney.  She is loving the new & improved apartment (this one has heat!), but misses everyone in Costa Mesa.

Savannah has seen some great success in her missionary work and in the work of others.  For the most part, people are anxious to hear the 'good news' and learn more about Christ and Gods plan for us. 

She gets especially happy when investigators come to church, but has also had weeks when everyone cancelled on them!  Ups & downs!  Here are a few excerpts from her emails...

"Blessing in disguise: Saturday night I wasn't feeling so hot, my stomach has been really upset .  I basically had the choice whether to ask Hermana Whitney if we could go home early (was 8:00pm
ish..) or go out and work. So I decided I was going to tough it out and work, so we went to go find a investigator named Cornelia, she lives in the kind of sketchiest part of our area. We were able to park right next to her house and we went and knocked only to find out she wasn't home. We got back in the car only to realize that the battery was dead.

"That was weird as we didn't leave our lights on or anything.  We both got in the car and locked the doors, called Elder Anderson ( Senior Missionary in charge of the cars.  He came with his truck and tried jumping it, nothing. Elder Anderson found that an important part of the battery had corroded to the point of collapsing, so he made a first aid repair and we drove it to the Mission Office so that he could legitimately repair it, we didn't get home till 10:30ish. 

"Now that doesn't sound like a blessing I know, but if we had gone straight home we wouldn't of found out about the car until the next morning and I would of missed the confirmations (of people she was teaching) in Costa Mesa. Super awesome blessing <3."

Those are grapefruits from a members garden
and from another week...

"We went to the elder's baptism yesterday, his name is Rojelio, he looked like a very serious business man, not someone you would ever see cry. He bore his testimony and was crying so humbly, it was so powerful, the spirit was so amazingly strong. I started reflecting, during the ward party on Saturday and during the baptism. What would I be doing if I wasn't here? If I decided not to serve a mission, it made me a little sick. I am so thankful for all the experiences I've had here and the people I've met. I thought to myself. "I wouldn't give this up for the world." No I wouldn't, my faith has grown so much here and I'm so thankful I had the faith to come out here in the first place. I know I have touched hearts and they have touched mine, I am seeing my patriarchal blessing fulfilled before my eyes, how great it is! How thankful am I!

Savannah LOVES Christmas!

and another email...
In the face of adversity and fear, Savannah remembered this scripture...
"Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest."
Joshua 1:9 

Savannah asks for continued prayers for her and for the work they are doing and their investigators.  Thanks for all your support, love, letters and packages.  They mean so much to her!

Her decorated Deck for Christmas
The Spanish Speaking wards are close knit and have many get-togethers and celebrations.

Savannah and her old companion, Sister Rodriguez


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Where in the world?

Bad's been almost 3 months since my last update!  Savannah is doing great.  It's hard work and has it's challenges, but she loves it and is learning so much.  We look forward to her weekend emails.  To avoid writing a novella, I'm going to bullet point some highlights from her emails.\\Personal Growth

*Still in Costa Mesa, her first area.

*Still with the same companion she started with, who is on her last 6 weeks, so Savannah will be sending her home and staying in Costa Mesa with a new companion mid-November.

* It was the 10th anniversary of the Newport CA temple in Oct.  She was able to do a tour and recounted to us a miracle that occurred while under construction; "On January 13, 2005, a statue of the angel Moroni crowned the temple. During placement, a remarkable solar halo was visible, which surrounded the sun. Once Moroni was in place, the phenomenon dissipated."

*Getting to know 'real' mexican food.  It's very good, but they are always teasing her about sneaking the really 'hot' stuff in it. 

Savannah also got to participate in her first hispanic holiday,
Día de Hispanidad.  Lots of food, loud Spanish music, karaoke, mechanical bull and hispanic dances.

 It sounds like the members take very good care of their missionaries.  I had one even call me one day after dinner.  It was nice to talk to someone who had just spent time with my daughter.

*Homesickness.  Yes, a bit, but she has found some constants that has helped.

*Weather: HOT & HUMID

*Packages:  Savannah has really enjoyed getting letters & packages.  I'm sure she has thanked you, but let me add OUR thanks as well.  It really makes her day/week!

*Missionary work: Savannah has had steady investigators and many opportunities to teach the Gospel.  Her happiest emails are the ones about investigators, baptisms and miracles.

Here are a few pieces from Savannah's emails to leave you with...

"This week has been full of personal growth. I felt the stark difference of having vs not having the spirit with you. For "my soul delighteth in the scriptures"(2 Nephi 4:15) I never understood that phrase before now. At first I thought he just really liked the scriptures but after a recent experience I realize and now recognize the power the soul is given when you study the scriptures in prayer. It gives your soul a feeling of joy that no other thing can give. For the spirit is amazing. So a big thing I learned was the necessity for daily spiritual guidance through prayer AND scripture study, specifically the Book of Mormon. I would not have realized this if I was not on my mission, I would of been far too distracted to notice. But being so engulfed in the gospel has allowed me to see that difference and how much joy the spirit brings.


"I enjoyed General Conference more than I have in my entire life! It was so great! We were able to watch the whole thing including General Women's conference. We watched in the Spanish stake center, where they broadcasted it in English and Spanish (the church has two chapels) There were definitely a lot of words meant for me and I learned a lot.

I have noticed the mighty change that has been coming with the spirit.

I am loving it, and intend to take advantage of this constant feeling of the Holy Ghost with me. I have noticed the great difference.

Something you can only feel on your mission, completely devoted to the Lord, I am really working hard to be the missionary I need to be... Oh I love the spirit so much. I feel it so much! "When you cannot do what you have always done, then you only do what is most important."

More pictures! 

 Her desk!

Some artwork...